08 January,Cape Town
After the visitors lost the opening Test by 72 runs to South Africa at Newlands here, India skipper Virat Kohli on Monday underlined the importance of having big partnerships.
The 29-year-old also credited the way South Africans bowled their heart out despite being reduced to three pacers, with their spearhead Dale Steyn being ruled out.
“Credit to them, they were a bowler short and still bowled their heart out. We need to rectify our mistakes also,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation.
“Mini collapses in both innings is something we have to think about. This game is all about striking in partnerships. They did that better than us.
Kohli also rued the dropped chances in South Africa’s first innings, which he felt could have restricted them to a much lower total. The Proteas recovered from a precarious 12/3 to 126/4, thanks to the 114-run fourth wicket between Ab de Villiers and skipper Faf du Plessis.
“If we had taken our chances in the first innings, even after them counter-attacking, we could have kept them to 220. We’re not a team which thinks of what-ifs though,” he said.
Hailing the efforts of his bowlers in the second innings to restrict the hosts for a paltry 130 and an overall lead of 207, Kohli said: “We were thinking 250, 275 if they play well. It was a great effort by the bowlers. We needed someone to get a 75-80.”
“Bowlers learned pretty quickly. We kept pulling things back against a side which is very strong about us.
“The mindset matters when you’re travelling away from home. You need to grab scoring opportunities,” the skipper pointed out.
The Delhi batsman also praised young all-rounder Hardik Pandya’s effort, which included a brilliant 93 in the first innings, to lift India from a precarious 92-7 to 209 besides picking three wickets in the match.
“He’s (Hardik Pandya) a strong character. He’s performing for us now, even away from home. That knock was brilliant,” Kohli said.